Eli Junior Kroupi. Perhaps its name means something to you. Quite simply because he is the son...of Eli Kroupi, ex-professional player for Stade Rennais, FC Lorient and AS Nancy-Lorraine. Aged only 17, the attacking midfielder has established himself, at the start of the season, as the main offensive weapon of the Merlus. And we should (certainly) see him to his advantage again this Saturday afternoon (5 p.m.), against Stade de Reims, for the 10th day of Ligue 1.
After a (very) brief appearance in Ligue 1 during the last day of the previous year, Eli Junior Kroupi had his chance this season against OGC Nice (1-1), on August 20, during the 2nd day. An opportunity that he was able to seize. Indeed. Indeed, just six minutes after coming into play, he perfectly served Siriné Doucouré in space to allow the Breton team to equalize... and snatch a precious point in the race to maintain. After a few appearances off the bench, the Frenchman earned his starting stripes. And once again, he did not disappoint.
Once again a decisive passer against AS Monaco (2-2), he scored his first goal in the elite in the Lorient defeat at FC Nantes (5-3). Then, on October 8, he revealed himself to the followers of the French championship by being the author of a sumptuous double against Olympique Lyonnais (3-3). He thus made Ligue 1 history by becoming the second youngest player, behind Bernard Zénier, to score twice in the same match.
“He exudes the joy of playing football. He is someone who embodies a lot of things about performance, about footballers in general, Régis Le Bris assured him, following his very good performance against Les Gones. If he is able to maintain this joy, and I do not believe that it will leave him, there will be beautiful things to come and for us.
SEE ALSO - Alexandre Lacazette's double against FC Lorient (3-3)
FC Lorient must take advantage of his qualities... while they can. Because “EJK” is not certain of remaining in Morbihan for much longer. Indeed, his performances in Ligue 1 - he has 3 goals and 2 assists in 8 matches - would not have gone unnoticed. According to information from Cadena SER, he would be on the shelves of Real Madrid, sorry, and “several other big European names”. However, the Merlus do not intend to let him go so easily... and so quickly. They would work to extend his contract which runs, for the moment, until June 2026, while offering him a nice salary increase.
But if the versatile player - he is capable of playing on the left side and behind the center forward - continues to perform as well, keeping him next summer risks being increasingly difficult. A bit – all things considered – like AS Monaco in 2017 with Kylian Mbappé to whom his teammate Tiémoué Bakayoko compares him: “It’s a phenomenon. He reminds me a little of Kylian Mbappé in his playing maturity, the midfielder recently explained in comments reported by Ouest-France. He does everything very quickly. He has good stats for a kid his age. We have to give him time to toughen up a little but if he continues like this, we have a future Kylian Mbappé (laughs).” This is all that FC Lorient hopes for.